Cmi Level 5 Assignments

Candidate Guide for City & Guilds Level 5 Qualifications

The purpose of the guide is to provide information about the qualifications available to you and to answer some of the questions you may have.


This guide, for the City & Guilds Award in Project Specification for Operational Delivery at Level 5 aims to make your learning journey easy and rewarding, and to ensure that you both enjoy your study and value the skills you gain in the process.

Learning time

All City and Guilds qualifications have been mapped to the existing CSL Learning Opportunities giving you a choice of on-line learning from the CSL and ODP pool of modules.  As many of these courses have been mandatory at some point, you may find that you have already completed a large chunk of the learning required to obtain a City & Guilds qualification and all you need to do is to refresh your knowledge and sit the tests.  There is no requirement to attend any face to face courses in order to complete the qualifications.

The time you need to dedicate to obtain an Award at any level may be as little as just a few days from your allocated annual study time in order to revise and sit the tests or complete the assignments.

Your qualification structure

To achieve the Level 5 Award you must complete the following unit:

Unit 501     

The assessment

You will need to successfully complete one written assignment for the unit.   The assignment is based on the assessment criteria listed in the unit.  You will be expected to use real work examples and products for your assignment..

When you register for the qualification you have chosen you will be given log in details that will give you access to the assessment criteria for your unit.

This will also provide you with information on Learning Opportunities available through CSL Learning which will provide you with the knowledge to achieve the qualification.

To prepare yourselves for the assessment it is recommended that you carefully read the step by step guide that accompanies each unit that will be made available to you following log in.  You may have already completed some of the learning options recommended; in which case, all you need to do is to refresh your memory before attempting each assignment.  

As your Level 5 qualification is part of the City & Guilds ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) you will be given access to the Institute of Leadership and Management study Membership, for the first 12 months of your qualification, this will provide you with additional on-line learning resources covering a variety of management topics.

As a studying member, you have access to the members only area of the ILM website including the following:

• Learning Zone – ILM’s learning and development portal with over 400 digital learning resources, developed by leading experts and covering essential leadership and management topics. The zone includes video seminars, expert e-learning modules giving an in-depth guided session to build skills and knowledge. Downloadable factsheets and subject overviews.
• Resource centre -  online access to the latest leadership and management articles, magazines and journals.
• Business book summary service –the latest management books clearly and concisely summarised.
• Regular e-communication – monthly E-Edge, plus our weekly email newsletter straight to students email address
• Career centre – job boards with opportunities from thousands of newspapers, job sites, associations and company career sites; CV advice; practical careers advice.
• CPD – a downloadable planner that helps to identify goals in skills and learning and identify where there are gaps in your skills and learning, set goals and plan CPD activity.


A step by step learner guide to studying for each unit

By following the guidance below you will be able to make the most out of the study experience and be able to prepare for the assignment.

When you have chosen your qualification, your first step is to follow the booking guidance for Operational Delivery Qualifications on the CSL Portal.

Within 5 working days of your start date (indicated on the CSL Portal) you will receive joining instructions. These instructions consist of a welcome letter and a link to the log in page of the qualification support web site managed by Premier Partnership.

In addition you will be provided with a password that enables you to log into your own personal qualifications page. This page holds all the details and information that you will need to undertake your qualification.

Step 1: Read through the requirements of the unit selected

Begin by reading the unit specification.  This sets the scene and outlines what you will be expected to understand, know or be able to do once the unit has been successfully completed.  The unit specification is highly detailed and forms the basis of each assignment. 

You will notice certain words appear in bold. These are the areas that may be covered in the multiple choice assessment.

Step 2:  Review the assignment specification

Read the requirements for the assignment through fully. You must review:

  • Instructions for completing the assignment
  • Assignment task
  • Marking guide

Some of the assignments will give you the option to complete a set task or provide evidence sourced from the workplace.  Please ensure you read through the assignment requirements fully before deciding how you approach each task. 

Step 3:  Take time to reflect on the unit content and assignment specification

Once you have read through the unit and assignment specification, identify the skills and knowledge you already have which relate to the unit aims. 

Secondly, identify any skills, knowledge gaps or aspects of the programme requiring additional study or research. Use this information to decide on which learning and development opportunities you would like to pursue and identify research you wish to undertake.

Step 4:  Participate in formal learning opportunities in the Civil Service

A range of learning opportunities has been selected for each unit. These learning opportunities range from short E-Learning courses which last an hour to full day training courses. The training is offered by:

  • Learning for Operational Delivery
  • Civil Service Learning (CSL)
  • ILM Source material

Select and participate in training to suit your needs and knowledge requirements. It may be useful to refresh your knowledge if you participated in training previously.

Step 5:  Make use of ILM Membership

If you wish to research specific aspects of the programme or prepare for the assignment you may access a wide variety of resources provided by the Institute of Leadership and Management. 

Once registered with the ILM, membership is automatic once you have logged in,visit this directs you to the home page.  In the section entitled ‘Resource Centre’ click on the heading ‘Go to resource centre now’. Once on the resource centre page, select the first box – press continue and then you will have access to the ILM resource search engine.

Step 6:  Undertake informal independent learning in your own work area

Opportunities for independent learning have been identified for each unit.  You must read through the list.  It simply asks you to reflect on how you undertake certain tasks or look up policies and procedures specific to the subject area. The purpose is to make you think about how you undertake specific activities in your own work area and the organisational and legal requirements which underpin what you do. 

Don’t forget to ask your colleagues or managers for support to understand aspects of topics, roles or responsibilities on which you are unsure.

Step 7:  Undertake the assignment

Once you have reviewed the unit requirements, addressed skills and knowledge gaps and undertaken independent learning and research you should have the confidence to complete the assignment.

Top tips

  • Read the assignment pack thoroughly before beginning the assignment, do not skip the introductory pages and go straight to the tasks as you could miss vital information which will help you complete the assignment
  • You need to answer all the tasks correctly to pass the unit
  • Develop a plan to write the assignments and tick off each task as they are completed to ensure the assignment submitted does not have any gaps.
  • You are only required to answer the tasks, do not spend time providing additional information which has not been requested (additional information unless directly linked to the assessment criteria will not be counted towards the achievement of tasks set)
  • Read each task thoroughly and pay attention to the verbs used to introduce each task.  For example, if you are asked to analyse information you need to study the information in detail rather than describe the information presented.


What support will I have?

Premier Partnership

As well as handling the technical aspects of the accreditation process, Premier Partnership is committed to providing additional learner support, for example if you have any queries about your registration with City & Guilds/ ILM or if you have any special requirements.

You can contact Premier Partnership directly at or by telephoning the help desk on 01302 361226.

Telephone enquiries will be responded to in normal working hours (09:00 to 17:00 Monday to Friday) or for messages left outside of normal working hours within one working day.

Emails will normally be responded to within 48 hours.

Your Line Manager

Your Line Manager already plays an important role in your professional development. As you progress towards your qualification, your Line Manager will support you in a number of ways. These include:

  • Approving your request to start the learning
  • Agreeing with you what are the most appropriate development opportunities
  • Having regular discussions with you, including reviews of any workshops you have attended or learning activities that you have undertaken

The Line Manager Guide clarifies their role in supporting you through the qualification.

Civil Service Learning

You will already be aware of the wide range of learning opportunities available to you on the Civil Service Learning portal. These include:

  • Workshops and events
  • Workplace learning activities
  • Workbooks and crib guides
  • E-learning

Policies and Codes of Practice

City & Guilds, ILM and Premier Partnership work in accordance with a number of policies and codes of practice to ensure that they carry out their responsibilities in a fair, equitable and legal manner.

Policies and procedures that are particularly relevant to you as a learner are:

City & Guilds, ILM

  • Complaints and Appeals Policy
  • Complaints and Appeals Procedure
  • Reasonable Adjustments Policy
  • Diversity and Equality Policy

Premier Partnership

  • Complaints and Appeals Policy
  • Diversity and Equality Policy

Policies and procedures are based on ACAS guidelines and codes of practice.You may request copies of these by contacting Premier Partnership directly at


Taking a Management & Leadership Qualification involves writing assignments. Assignment writing is an art and something all students need to learn to pass their qualification. Below are some examples of how to avoid the common errors.

Focus on the assessment criteria

Assessment criteria are shown as A.C. on your assignment brief. The assessment criteria are the only area assessors look at in order to determine whether you get a pass or refer. However, the task gives you some helpful background detail on what is required. Therefore, a good assignment uses the assessment criteria as a heading and a guide to keep your eye on the ball.

Pay attention to the command verbs

Command verbs are the key! Each Assessment criteria will start with a command verb, starting with basic command verbs at level 3 and working up to analytical verbs at level 7. Here are some examples of the verbs you will see at each level.

  • Level 3: Identify, describe, List
  • Level 5: Determine, discuss, evaluate, explain
  • Level 7: Evaluate, assess, critically review

It is essential you understand what each command verb is asking you to do so you can be very specific in your answer. For example, if they ask you to evaluate and you describe you will not pass.

We will be writing another blog soon on command verbs and their meanings or you can go to the Developing U resources section of the website to get a complete breakdown of command verbs.

An Example from a Level 5 Assignment Brief

Task 2:

Based upon the stakeholder needs identified in Task 1, produce a work plan or work scenario which illustrates how the primary needs of your stakeholders are being met. As a first line manager, demonstrate how you and your team have modified a work plan or situation to meet stakeholder needs more effectively.

Guideline word count: 500 – 600 words

A.C. 1.3 – Identify work plans with the team, gaining commitment to meet stakeholder needs

A.C. 1.4 – Evaluate and modify the work plans to meet the stakeholder needs

Access management direct and your Pathways Workbook for your research and make sure you reference your research sources

Remember it is essential to demonstrate you have researched around the subject. In your assignment you must have several references in each task. They might be quotes, diagrams, models, or citing the work of others. Without this you will get a refer.

Management Direct and Pathways Workbooks are your first port of call to support your research. Here you will be able to get lots of helpful resources for use in your assignment.

A Level 7 example answer:

A.C. Analyse the concept of managers as effective leaders.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Management as “The process of dealing with or controlling things or people” (2014). This includes the application of skill or care in the manipulation, use, treatment, or control of the thing or person. Managerial technique encourages managers to dedicate themselves to tasks, process, politics, structures and roles.

Leadership is defined in The Supplement to the Oxford English Dictionary as “the action or influence necessary for the direction or organisation of effort in a group undertaking” (Burchfield in Rost, 1976). John Adair (2002) expands on this in 100 Greatest Ideas for Effective Leadership and Management to add that leading is about “giving direction especially in times of change; inspiring or motivating people to work willingly; building and maintaining teamwork; providing an example; producing a personal output”. The element of being responsible for planning and people is far more important.

Draw your own conclusions

Whilst research is essential it can’t be used alone. Your assignment must contain a balance of research and your own views. For every section of theory you include make sure you draw your own conclusions and state your own views.

An example from a Level 5 assignment:

It is my view however that x could certainly use innovation more effectively to help meet the other key priorities. The problem facing x is that lessening budgets means that innovation is essentially restricted to ‘working with what you’ve got’. As indicated, the emphasis on innovation seems to be on saving or raising money and doing things differently rather than on what ideas could primarily make things better for the customer or the environment. For example, whilst the greater development of land to provide additional housing will in part help provide a ‘Better Environment’ and ‘Better Lives’ the main driving force behind this appears to be to increase revenues with other advantages more of a bi-product.

Pay attention to the guidance notes

Every assignment brief includes guidance notes which are written by the CMI to help you to know the main areas to cover. Before writing your assignment, always check these notes as they will give you direction.

Example Guidance Notes for a Level 5 qualification

2.1 Evaluate the meaning of quality to an organisation

Presenting the ideal opportunity to include a definition of ‘quality’ using a recognised source (e.g. from a quality standard such as the ISO 9000 family or an author such as Dale, Juran, Deming, or, Crosby) this definition can then be matched against the Learners own organisation where possible to evaluate the meaning of quality from the organisation’s point of view. The following points may assist:

  • Does the organisation use quality control, quality assurance or total quality management approaches? Does it know what its objective is around quality? Are quality approaches explicit or have they simply evolved over time (ad hoc)?
  • Does the organisation know why it manages quality and what its expectations are in terms of the business benefits? Does it measure its progress towards these?
  • Where does the organisation place the customer in their quality management approach?
  • How does quality feature in the organisation’s culture?

Use sufficient personal experience and models

Each task will give an idea of the amount of personal experience and models you need to include within your assignment. It is essential if the task asks for two examples you give two examples.An Example from a Level 7 Assignment

An Example from a Level 7 Assignment:

Task 1:

Describe a performance management process for ensuring that responsibility for delivering strategic objectives is shared throughout the organisation. Use a practical example to illustrate how team performance links to organisational objectives.

Describe a performance management process for ensuring that responsibility for delivering strategic objectives is shared throughout the organisation. Use a practical example to illustrate how team performance links to organisational objectives.

Identify a range of at least four different tools and techniques for setting team performance targets. Evaluate these by comparing and contrasting them, using a table format if preferred, identifying the advantages and disadvantages of each. Assess their value then in the ongoing measuring and monitoring of team performance during the year, using practical examples to illustrate what worked well and what did not work so well in different situations or with different teams and cultures.

Critically examine at least three methods you could use to agree performance targets for individuals within the team when compared with their current performance.

Guideline word count: 1,000 – 1,100 words

  • A.C. 1.1 – Assess the links between team performance and strategic objectives
  • A.C. 1.2 – Evaluate tools and techniques available to set team performance targets
  • A.C. 1.3 – Assess the value of team performance tools to measure future team performance

Look externally and internally for examples

Having an external and internal focus for your research adds credibility to your assignment. Rather than just focussing on what your organisation does, look outside for other ideas.

Here is an example from a level 5 assignment

Organisations, large and small alike, will rely on these types of creativity tools to help encourage ideas and innovation across the business, mainly with a view to increasing value. One such organisation that embraces innovation, and indeed is reliant upon it to deliver its product, is Pixar Studios, the pioneers of computer animation. The Harvard Business Review (2008) cites a number of factors that have been integral to encouraging ideas and innovation at Pixar and these are held in the basic beliefs of the organisation:

  • Talent is rare
  • Management’s job is not to prevent risk but to build the capability to recover when failures occur
  • It must be safe to tell the truth
  • Must constantly challenge all our assumptions and search for the flaws that could destroy our culture

Write professionally, succinctly and clearly

Professional writing is key to success with your assignment. Try to write in the first person ‘In my view ….., in my opinion ……..’ and avoid judgement statements e.g. ‘all the managers are rubbish in my company’.

Remember your assignment should read like a professional report you would submit to a senior manager in the organisation.

You must stick to the wordcount or your assignment will not be marked. This is a challenge but helps you to stay focussed on the key messages in your assignment.

Use Bullets, Screenshots and Powerpoint slide to illustrate your work

These methods do not count in the wordcount so they are a good way of increasing the content of your assignment without over running the wordcount. Remember if you are using lists you must write a sentence about each item on the list.

Put all the relevant information in the text rather than appendices

The assessors will only look at the information in the body of your assignment so if there is any information relevant to the assessment criteria this must be in the main part of the work.

Include a Bibliography

So that assessors can see you have carried out sufficient research you must always include a Bibliography with your work. There is help on the Developing U website to show you how to compile a bibliography if you are unsure. Guidance Documents

We hope our guidance notes help. Please feel free to contact us on if you have any queries about your assignment.

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